Frequently Asked Questions 

If you are a client and have questions call (503) 226-3083. Your attorney or staff will be glad to speak to you or meet with you to answer your questions. In the meantime, here are answers to some general questions our clients or their families typically may have:

What type of cases do you accept?


MDI contracts with the Public Defense Services Commission of the State of Oregon to represent indigent clients. We do not accept retained or private cases. We handle misdemeanors, felonies, contempt matters, juvenile dependency and termination of parental rights cases and civil commitment appeals in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

How much do you charge for your services?


MDI does not charge our clients for our services. Clients who qualify for court appointed counsel due to their financial circumstances are appointed a lawyer at State expense. If a person is found guilty of the charge, the Court has the power to order that a person pay all or part of the cost of the attorney back to the State.

How do I know what will happen with my case?

Your lawyer will review the facts of your case with you and will review the possible strategies and outcomes with you. Ultimately, how you proceed will be up to you after these consultations. If you keep in touch with your attorney, you will be able to see whatever police reports or investigation reports have been generated and review them with your attorney.​

What types of things could happen?

Some criminal cases are resolved with a plea bargain reached with the District Attorney which may result in possible dismissal of the charges or an outcome which could be to your advantage. Many cases are resolved by way of a trial where the State has the burden of proving any charges it has made. You will decide what is best for you after talking to your attorney.

If I am convicted of a crime, can I appeal?

Persons convicted of crimes generally have a right to appeal such verdicts and indigent persons may be eligible to have an attorney appointed to handle such an appeal. If you are convicted of a crime, your attorney will review your appeal rights with you at that time.

Can I clear the records of an arrest or conviction?

A legal process called expunction allows for clearing a person's arrest or conviction record under certain circumstances. Talk to your attorney about these issues.

What should I be doing to help my attorney to help me favorably resolve my case?

Here are some things you should know which may help you favorably resolve your case:


A. Talk only to your attorney or his or her staff about your case. Most everything you tell us is confidential; what you say to the police or family/friends or anyone else may not be.


B. Keep in touch! We can't help you if we can't talk to you. Sometimes it's hard to get a hold of your attorney because they are busy. Please be patient and persistent and we will make sure you get the best advice.


C. Make it to court on time. If you are too late or fail to appear, it is possible that a warrant will go out for your arrest. It is also possible you could be charged with a new crime as a result. Leave extra time to get through the Courthouse security process.


D. If you are in custody, be aware that the jail phone lines are recorded. It is best if you don't talk about your case on the phone to anyone except your attorney.


E. Follow the rules of release. There are often conditions placed a person's release from custody such as "no contact" with a person or place. If the rules aren't followed, the Court may revoke your release and you may end up in jail.

What is Community Court?


The focus of community court is to resolve relatively minor misdemeanor cases, such as some theft, drinking in public and trespass cases. By pleading guilty you may receive a sentence that includes community service and/or mandatory social services. Most cases are dismissed after successful completion of the community service and/or mandatory social services.